Although we live on an island, getting on and of our rock is not always the cheapest or easiest, however, we are fortunate enough that we have a working harbour and modern airport which also happens to be home to the vibrant and friendly Jersey aero club.
Last year for my birthday I was treated to a voucher for a flying lesson around the island with the aero club from my Sister and Mum. For years I knew it was possible to do this but never enquired further and always thought it would be a great idea. To my delight when I received the voucher from my Sister I was overjoyed and eager to book. Unfortunately, due to a busy booking schedule, their calendars had bookings months in advance, I had to push back my date to early 2018 and then pick a Saturday and pray to the weather gods that visibility would be good.
This past Saturday was the big day and originally what was forecast to be a cloud filled sky with drizzle turned out to be a lovely day with good visibility above. We arrived at the aero club and were warmly greeted by staff who asked to wait upstairs in the club lounge, the space holds the clubs social gatherings as well as a bar and food area which is open to non-members most days, it has fantastic views over the Airport’s main runway with a balcony for those avid plane spotters keen to get snaps of aircraft.
Our flight instructor David soon introduced himself and we had a great pre-chat about what would be involved in the flying lesson, we discussed my interest in helicopters which David also happened to have piloted previously so it was great to find out more from someone with a passion and expertise in the matter.
My self and Laura were taken outside to our light aircraft and strapped in, I was briefed on the basic instruments on the aircraft panel and we then communicated back and forth to air traffic control. David walked me through the takeoff procedure so that I could get involved handling the aircraft, we taxied away from the clubhouse and to the end of the runway, being able to view the whole runway from the front of the plane was special and much to Laura’s surprise I took off with David’s assistance with no problems.
We flew around the island of Jersey for around 20-30 mins taking off in a westerly direction heading towards La Corbière and then to the south and east, keeping a path along the coastline at around 1000 ft. Handling the aircraft was such a great feeling and being able to take turns and feel the feedback on the control wheel was very easy, as David explained if you leave the aircraft in that position it will just glide effortlessly.
We were very lucky to get some clear skies on the day over the whole of the island and take in the sights, as an experience or gift I couldn’t recommend taking a trial flight more highly. The team at the aero club were very welcoming and friendly, there are no excuses and I can’t wait to maybe do a longer session next time.